A look at a Trover List photo montage for the desktop

Most companies start with a Web-based version of their service, transitioning to  mobile almost as an after thought. Trover is headed in the opposite direction.

Originally started as a mobile app, today the photo sharing and discovery service is taking the wraps off a new desktop version that will allow users to find and share beautiful photography related to specific travel destinations or events. The company’s tagline kind of says it all: “Take an instant adventure: Join savvy explorers who love to find and share hidden gems.”

I’ve always lumped Trover into the Instagram bucket, but with the latest move the company is trying to differentiate itself even more from Facebook’s new property. Trover CEO Jason Karas tells us that Instagram’s Web site only offers a spot to display individual photos, primarily to enable people to view photos as shared links.

A Trover collection of Machu Pichu

That makes sense since Instagram is more about individual photos, whereas Trover is focusing on collections. Say a series of photos of Pike Place Market in Seattle or Trevi Fountain in Rome or Machu Pichu in Peru.

The idea with the new desktop service is to create “a killer experience” to bring the photo collections “to life on the big screen,” says Karas.

“When people share a Trover List, they want to deliver a multi-photo experience to their friend,” said Karas. “A simple web viewer of one photo won’t do that.  Given that most content shared on Trover is viewed on the Web, we needed to make a big investment there.”

He continued with an explanation of why he sees Trover going in a different direction from Facebook and Instagram, which he said connects with people in far different ways.

“Both Facebook and Instagram are ‘life streaming’ services — a way to stay in-sync with the activities of your friends. Trover, in contrast, is specifically about finding and sharing fun things to see/do around the world.   Like Instagram people use their gorgeous photos as the primary means of communication, but the purpose of Trover is really different.”

Trover is the result of a monumental pivot. It sprung from the ashes of TravelPost, an online travel company that raised $9.8 million from General Catalyst Partners, Ignition Partners, Benchmark Capital, Zillow co-founder Rich Barton and others.

That idea didn’t take off, and as result the company shifted gears into Trover, supported in part by the remaining  funds.

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